Natural Selection and Mutations Affecting Biomolecular Networks
Ryan Gutenkunst, University of Arizona
Mutation and natural selection drive evolution, but little is known quantitatively about how mutations affect the complex biomolecular systems that underlie life. At the genome-wide scale, the distribution of mutation effects on fitness is key to setting the pace of evolution. I present our recent inferences of demographic history and of this distribution for Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, highlighting the similarities with humans. At the local network scale, a key question for molecular evolution is why different proteins evolve at dramatically different rates. I thus also present our unpublished work coupling systems biology models with comparative genomic data to understand how network dynamics constrain protein evolution.
Background Review Article:
Loewe, L. (2008) Genetic mutation. Nature Education 1(1):113